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Strapped for Cash: How to improve schools in impoverished areas
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the dillema of school systems with poor funding due to their location in economically disadvantaged regions. I grew up and received my primary and secondary education in just a school system, so this OP will be heavily colored by my own experiences.
School systems in poor regions seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle. For areas with a very low average income (in my hometown the average was less than 20k/yr per household), there is virtually no local resources to draw from in terms of acquiring funding for schools. Just about everything has to either come from the state (which is also broke) or the federal government (which, although not broke, cannot afford to subsidize every such school system in the country without also going broke). Obviously, the federal funding was never enough, and the school system was both literally and figuratively poor. Everything from athletic equipment to computers to general infrastructure was always old and outdated; there was no funding for any off-campus trips, the teachers themselves had only a mediocre salary and as a result 90% of them were of a decidedly mediocre quality.
Also, while funding was a problem, it was closely related to larger cultural issues which ensured that things stayed the way they were. While a portion of graduating seniors went on to college, med/law school and what have you, very few of them had any reason to return back home after they were finished; money and opportunities were better elsewhere, and few want to raise their own children in such a deficient school system. As a result, the chronic brain drain on the county ensures that there's very few people in the county who have education of their children as a high priority, or who make a salary large enough to help the schools to get the funding they need. What's worse, there is very little motivation for anyone from the outside - the state, the federal government - to assist these regions; population is low and so are the votes they can gain from helping us, and because of the exodus of bright students from the county most of the people left don't really give a fuck anyway. Unfortunately, this results in a lot of bright and able students from impoverished families never getting the opportunity to achieve a higher education and standard of living that they deserve.
The town stagnates, the poverty rate stays high, and the snake bites itself on the tail and the whole thing starts again.
The purpose of this topic is this: how should we go about improving such poor school systems when funds are lacking and socioeconomic conditions are against us? How does the government go about improving these schools?
Note: This topic assumes that any solution will be achieved within the current system. If you want to talk about an objectivist approach to the school system there's already a topic for you, it will be considered off-topic in here.